Population: 11,692,670 (68% Human, 17% halfling,
5% Half-Elf, 5% Dwarf, 4% gnome)
Imports: Gold, spice, luxury goods
Exports: Grain, livestock, arms, armor, trade goods
Over two thousand years old, the great Conorrian Empire is a
faded remnant of an empire that once encompassed nearly all of
Vatheria. Nonetheless, it is still the largest and most powerful
of all nations, covering more than a million square miles. At its
height, the empire spanned from Tirgonia in the north to Luxur in
the south, and from the Mahadran Islands in the west to the Great
Steppes of the east, and it left its cultural imprint on all those
lands. Its language is spoken by the learned throughout Vatheria
and beyond, and its art, music and legends form the basis of much
of human life in the region.
The Conorrian Empire of today is a shadow of its former self,
whittled down by invasions, civil wars, and the tottering weight
of its vast official bureaucracy. It is heavily populated,
particularly along its lengthy coasts and near its ancient,
wealthy cities. The Conorrian legions are still the best-trained
and best-equipped of all the human armies, though their ranks are
now largely filled with foederati from the Rhanalorian
tribes, hardened Thariyyan tribesmen, or Brythnian mercenaries.
The coasts and rivers of the Empire boast vast tracts of
farmland, once the economic heart of the known world. The forests
of Conorria were felled long ago to create the cities and fleets
of ships that made its people masters of the world, and the land
cleared for the many farms. With the encroachment of barbarian
peoples on all sides, many farmers have fled the fields for the
cities or for fortified outposts, leaving the fields fallow.
Monsters unseen in the interior of the Empire for twenty
generations have begun to make a comeback, some even wandering
near the great cities themselves in recent years.
All these problems aside, the Conorrian Empire is still a vast
and powerful nation, inheritor of twenty centuries of art,
culture, and learning. The cities are studded with great
cathedrals, vast plazas, paved roads and wondrous works and
marvels of magic and science. Martial academies and universities
of scholarly knowledge unheard of in barbarian lands are regular
features in the cities of the Empire.
The Divine Emperor
The Conorrian Emperor has among his many titles that of
Vice-Regent of the Gods. Upon assuming the throne and being
consecrated by the Patriarch of Echoriath, he assumes the divine
status of Pater Eternum, eternal father to the Conorrians.
It is his divine spark which animates the spirit of the Empire,
brings victory to its legions, health to its animals and people,
and wealth to its coffers. Statues of the Emperor and his
forebears can be found throughout the empire, mute testament to
the fervent worship of his mortal subjects.
The Emperor is not a hereditary position. Each emperor makes
known his chosen successor, and after his death, this person must
be acclaimed by the legions before becoming Emperor. Many times in
history, the emperor has died without naming an heir, or the
legions have refused to acclaim the named successor. Civil war has
almost always been the result. Many emperors have tried to rid
Conorria of this dangerous tradition by naming their sons as their
successor, but the old ways have never died.
The current emperor is Varantius II "Keloicrator",
Hammer of the Hobgoblins. Born a farmerís son in Nerassus, near
the Thariyyan border, he rose through the ranks to become one of
the youngest generals in Conorrian history. His campaign against
the hobgoblin horde that invaded Conorria from across the river
Esharias was brilliantly successful, and made him governor of a
rich eastern province. When the emperor Keol was killed at the
sack of Conorria in 2743 by the Worldspine orcs, Varantius was
hailed as emperor by the legions, and eventually led the army that
drove the orcs from the capital, with help from the sudden advent
of the Rhanalorian tribes. His place as one of the great Conorrian
emperors was sealed. There are many who believe that Varantius
desires nothing less than a return to the greatness of old, when
Conorrian power ran across the whole of Vatheria.
The Senate is a body of aristocrats who advise the emperor. The
influence of the Senate has waxed and waned over the centuries.
Currently, it is a powerful check on the ambitions of the Emperor.
In the last century, the Senate was able to force the emperors to
accede to a document known as the Concordat Eternal. This
document bound the Conorrian emperors to abide by the final
decision of the Senate in all matters of finance, morality and
domestic peace. Only in war does the emperor still maintain the
unchecked power of old.
The current Senate is divided into factions which support or
oppose Varantiusí plans for expansion. The senatorial power over
finance has sharply limited the emperorís plans to build a great
military, much to his anger. The factions scheme and plan to
replace aging or retiring senators with their own candidates in
order to tip the delicate balance in their favor.
The Conorrian Legions were once the force that knit together
all the realms of humanity. Today, they are hard-pressed on every
border, fighting the orcs of the Tarrakas mountains, the monsters
of the Worldspine range, the aggressive elves of Celendor, their
counterparts in the legions of Carhallas. Still, the legions are
the finest infantry in Vatheria. Stationed all along the borders
of the land, in fine fortresses and augmented by the Imperial
War-Wizards, the legions hold back the rising tide of upstart
nations, seeking to pillage the riches of Conorria.
The Conorrian legions were once filled exclusively with natives
of Conorria, but now their ranks are largely filled with men from
the provinces, barbarians who, seeking a better life, have sold
their martial skills to the emperor. Most of the officers are
still Conorrians, as are the most elite units of heavy horse and
the Lauresian Guard, but the number of non-Conorrian senior
officers is on the rise.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Conorrian military
is its widespread use of the tactics of "active
defense". Most armies elsewhere in the world seek to bring
the enemy to a single, decisive battle. Not so the Conorrians.
Instead, the goal of the Conorrian armies is to make any invasion
so costly that the invaders retreat back out of Conorrian
territories. Conorrian military manuals give great weight to
dogging the enemyís supply trains, retreating in the face of
assaults, and preventing the enemy from foraging for supplies. In
addition, magical misdirection, illusion and trickery are given
much more weight in Conorrian planning than mere offensive power.
A powerful network of fortified cities and citadels allow the
Conorrians to protect their citizens from invading enemies, and
allow the professional armies time to harass their enemies and
deny them supplies. There are numerous examples in Conorrian
history of numerically superior invaders retreating out of the
Empire because of starvation, exhaustion, and trickery. Thus, the
Conorrians are able to field a relatively small army of highly
motivated soldiers who have a reasonable certainty that their
lives will not be thrown away by a general seeking mere glory on
The War Wizards
As vital to Conorrian power as the might of the legions are,
they could not succeed as they do without the Imperial College of
the Arcana Militum, or War Wizards. Masters of battlefield magic,
these terrifying mages enforce the Emperorís will, acting as
advisors and fire support to the Emperorís legions. Often, the
mere sight of the banners of a War Wizard has been enough to cause
an enemy to flee from the field.
As young men and women, these wizards are chosen from among the
best of the best throughout the empire, and must pass a grueling
and often deadly series of tests designed to test their skills and
dedication. Then, they undergo a mystical bonding with the
emperor, making them living instruments of his will.
The Imperial Roads
Throughout the lands once ruled by the Empire there exists a
network of fine, broad roads and sturdy bridges. Expertly crafted
to shed water and speed traffic, these great feats of engineering
were enchanted to be durable and resist the need for repair. Even
now, hundreds or even thousands of years later, the roads are
generally in excellent shape. In the Crusader States, there exists
a deep rift valley where the forces of wild magic caused the land
to fall away. But the Imperial road still runs across the gap of
the valley as before, only now it is suspended three hundred feet
over the rift.
In the wake of the Great Cataclysm, many human tribes wandered
the shores of the new inland sea which was to become known as the
Valesian Sea. Among these were the Conn, a warlike race who
believed they were descended from the Faithful, Iridian priests
preserved by the gods for their piety. The Conn settled on the
Milesian peninsula and founded the city of Conorr sometime in the
ninth century AC (Ante Conorria). Over the next eight centuries,
the Conn became the Conorrians, waging war on their Milesian
neighbors and slowly conquering the entire peninsula.
In what is now the Conorrian Year 0, the hero Aumarides, son of
the god Erdhon, finished his epic journey, which ended with the
return of the Pheonix to Conorria. Aumarides was acclaimed emperor
by the people of the city, and took the name Vasil I. And the
Conorrian Empire was born. Over the next eight centuries, the
Conorrians developed a highly dynamic and expansive society,
quickly dominating the central Valesian Sea.
Throughout the ninth century, Conorria faced its greatest
enemy, the Beltene Kingdom, in a series of bloody and destructive
wars. This nation of mysterious sorcerers from south of the river
Artaxes had come to dominate Valesia, Luxur and parts of what is
now Accolon in the early third century, and by 820, had begun to
actively make war on Conorrian ships and trading outposts. The
fabulous cities of the Beltenes would arise seemingly over night,
and their armies seemed capable of striking hundreds of miles into
Conorrian territory without being detected. During the Second
Beltene War, the Beltene general Burastis led his army rampaging
throughout the Milesian peninsula itself for nine years, defeating
the Conorrians in several battles and once even laying siege to
The Beltene Wars gave rise to the Conorrian War Wizards,
recruited by the emperors to combat the mysterious power possessed
by the Beltene generals. The great power and dedication of these
master mages turned the tide in the wars. By 871, the Beltene had
been driven out of the Valesian Sea and back across the Artaxes.
In 872, twelve Conorrian legions crossed the Artaxes to pursue the
Beltenes, but they and their quarry simply disappeared. No trace
of the Beltene homeland was ever found.
In the wake of the wars of the Fisherman Emperors, the Emperor
Jurisdas moved his capitol from Conorr to the new city of
Echoriath, at the mouth of the narrows of the Sea of Serpents. The
new capital, founded in 1330, was grander in every respect, built
around one of the finest harbors in the world, and superbly
protected from attack by geography and nature. Over the ensuing
millennia, Echoriath became the true center of the Valesian world,
the richest, most beautiful, and largest city in Vatheria.
The Summoning War came suddenly upon the Empire as the caliphs
of Shanatar unleashed their secret plan to conquer the empire.
Vast and deadly magical energies were unleashed as the two nations
locked in a deadly embrace. Demons never seen on Theeurth were
conjured in response to the elemental allies of Shanatar and their
battles destroyed the land that is now the border. Neither side
can be said to have won the war, which simply stopped when both
sides recoiled in horror at the cost in lives, land and riches.
In 1680, the Empire reached its greatest extent with the
conquest of Tirgonia. The Empire now stretched more than four
thousand miles from northern Tirgonia to southern Accolon and
covered an area of more than five million square miles. During
this time, Conorrian culture, language, literature and values were
universal throughout Vatheria, and even the barbarians north of
the Worldspine and south of the Artaxes river paid tribute to
their mighty neighbor.
In 1791, the Emperor Hadrasius XXI was assassinated while on a
tour of Luxur. Although his infant son, Valerius, was acclaimed
emperor by the Senate within weeks, there were many pretenders to
the throne. Before the year was out, no less than thirteen
claimants had been recognized by one legion or another. Many were
murdered within months, but six, all of them wizards or sorcerers,
named themselves emperor and made war upon the others. So began
the Conorrian Civil War, known as the Mage Wars. These vast and
bloody wars lasted for twenty-six years, and left the empire
In the east and south, Valerius retained his empire and was
recognized as the legitimate holder of the Phoenix Throne. But
west of the Conorr peninsula, the empire was under the thumb of
the Mage-Emperor Markimillien I, who founded the Miletian Empire.
The Conorrian Empire had lost more than half its territory, and
over the next several centuries, was to lose half again, as one by
one, it lost control of Llyran, Luxur, Valesia, Thariyya, Farmuz,
In 1902, the Kazimak horde of hobgoblins arrived to drive the
Conorrians out of the north, taking all their territory beyond the
Esharias river. Thus began a war between empires that has never
truly ceased in the ensuing eight hundred years.
The Darothic horde struck at the lands of civilized men in the
year 2282. Though the greatest fury of their attacks fell upon the
Miletian empire, the Conorrians also suffered. An army of some
twenty-five thousand barbarians struck deep into the eastern
empire and burned and looted its way across Acaris. The cities of
Pergerlus and Adanaeum were sacked and their people led away in
chains. But the barbarians were led into a Conorrian trap at the
Ularus Bridge, and with the help of the War Wizards, were
In the winter of 2723, a vaste horde of orcs and allied
creatures descended on the lightly-defended western half of the
Conorrian Empire and routed its defenders, burning and looting
across the once-mighty realm. Only in the east was their power
thwarted. The orcs forced their way down the Conorr peninsula,
taking city after city and eventually capturing even the holy city
of Echoriath itself in 2725. For the first time in nearly fourteen
hundred years, the Conorrian capital lay under foreign domination.
The Emperor Varantius II had managed to flee to the east by boat
under the cover darkness.
The orc domination lasted only two years. During that time,
numerous rebellions and even pitched battles broke out in and
around the city. By 2725, armies of crusaders from the west had
already begun to evict them from Akasia (the land west and south
of the Lyodan river). In 2745, the Emperor returned to Echoriath
at the head of a large navy, and aided by an army of horsemen from
distant Rhanalor. The orcs tried to resist the siege, but were
betrayed by forces inside the city still loyal to the Emperor. The
survivors were numerous, but disorganized, and were soon driven
back toward the Worldspine mountains. The Empire never recovered
Akasia, which is now controlled by the fractious Crusader States.
Even in its reduced state, the Empire is by far the largest and
most powerful nation in Vatheria, stretching eighteen hundred
miles from east to west and covering an area of more than a
million square miles.
MAJOR POPULATION CENTERS
Echoriath (Metropolis; population 1,219,480) - The
largest, grandest, richest city in all of Vatheria. This
sprawling, boisterous city is the heart and soul of the Empire. It
is a great center of trade, learning, diplomacy and magic. The
triple walls of Echoriath surround a long peninsula that juts out
into the sea at the foot of Mount Imarrilos. Several harbors have
their own walls and guard towers. The streets of Echoriath are
paved in stone, magically maintained by a college of wizards.
At the center of the city stands the Tartareum, a great arena
made from the skull of the titan Tartaros, felled by the hero
Aumarides. The Tartareum can hold thirty thousand people, and any
person who ascends the spire at one end can be clearly heard
throughout the structure. As the city is the heart of the empire,
so the Tartareum is the heart of the city. Emperors are acclaimed
here. Great gladiatorial and charioteering contests are held here,
and many times riots begin here which have ended the reigns of
The magical towers of Echoriath are visible far out to sea, and
many a foreign king has wept on seeing the undreamt-of grandeur of
this city. Flying carpets from Shanatar are not an uncommon sight
in the skies here, nor are the Lauresian Guard, mounted atop their
giant eagle steeds.
The river Akernos, which winds through the city, flows
magically backwards, bringing with it only fresh water and leaving
the salt of the Valesian Sea behind. The river is a popular means
of transports, and guilds of boatmen wait at piers and bridges to
ferry paying customers to wealthy neighborhoods.
Adamos (Metropolis; population 101,340) The second city
of the Empire, this city on the banks of the Esharias lies at the
crossroads of the routes to Shanatar, Celendor, and Carhallas. But
trade is only part of the business of the City of Bridges. Trade
routes are also invasion routes, and Adamos boasts a unique ring
of defensive towers, each the responsibility of a separate
knightly order or school of wizardry. Adamos is called the City of
Bridges because it is built on a series of islands in the Esharias,
each of which are connected by a network of bridges, causeways and
arches. The Emperors make their summer homes in Adamos.
Cyclados (Large City; population 69,890). Largest of the
Firetowns, Cyclados dominates the eastern end of the volcanic
island of Scythnus, south of the Conorr peninsula. Much of the
trade between the eastern and western halves of the Valesian Sea
stops in Scythnus, and the Firetowns are renowned not only for
their smoking fumeroles, but for the great number of Sea Witches
who may be hired there. Few ships will sail the Valesian Sea for
long without the benefit of a Sea Witch.
IMPORTANT LOCAL SITES
The Sea of Serpents - This large arm of the Valesian Sea
is home to great sea serpents who can swallow ships whole.
Luckily, these vast beings have been only rarely sighted over the
last few centuries. Unfortunately, they have in recent years been
replaced by a more subtle menace, an undersea nation of sahuagin
called Vareastis. These devil-men of the deep have allied
themselves with certain pirates, making travel on the sea
uncertain at best.
The Plains of Acaris - The vast central plains of
Conorria, watered by the Esharias, Phaedan and Lyodan rivers, are
enhanced by magic. Millennia of careful tending by the priests and
priestesses of Calandra the Fertile have left this an unusually
rich agricultural area, capable not only of supporting the
Conorrian throngs, but in recent centuries, of exporting food to
her former provinces.
The Shattered Plain - This tortured, infertile land of
blowing grey ash, twisted stone spires and bubbling black mud
stretches for hundreds of miles along the border with Shanatar. It
is the result of the Summoning War. It is inhabited by giants and
dragons and a seldom-seen race known as the Kamari, or dragon-men.
The Court of Love - Amid the pine forests high in the
Dolenar region of the Conorr peninsula, there is a beautiful
castle guarded by knights dedicated to Valendria, the goddess of
love. It is famous as a refuge for poets and artists, and for
those in love or who suffer from broken hearts. It is ruled over
by Valendriaís high priestess and her consort.
The Rymidion Forest- Between the Tarrakas mountains and
the Esharias river lies the vast Rymidion Forest. Its southern and
western eaves are home to many Conorrian villages that rely on
logging for their livelihood. But the deeper forest is home to
goblins, kobolds, orcs and even solitary beholders.